South Sudan vows to keep pace with partners on LAPSSET project

South Sudan vows to keep pace with partners on LAPSSET project
Minister of Transport, Madut Biar Yel (left) and senior advisor of African Trade at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Adeyinka Adeyemi (right) brief the media after their meeting on Monday, May 9. [Photo: Charles Wote]

The government of South Sudan is committed to implementing the multi billion Lamu Port South Sudan and Ethiopia (LAPSSET) infrastructure project, the ministry of transport said.

Addressing the media at the ministry office on Monday, May 9, after meeting LAPSSET delegation from Kenya and Ethiopia, Madut Biar Yel said the project as “very encouraging” while expressing South Sudan’s commitment to meet their end of the bargain.

Kenya and Ethiopia have so far finished parts of the project, particularly the road network project connecting the member states. South Sudan, however, still lags behind.

Kenya has finished the first phase of the Lamu Port, which has three berths and roads connecting the port to the South Sudanese border at Nadapal, where South Sudan will pick up from the same point as the Ethiopian border.

According to Biar, the South Sudanese government intends to push the construction companies to expedite the process of implementing the project.

“We want to take the second team and start from Nadapal, where Kenya stopped at the border on the way down to Juba,” he revealed.

“We have a lot of potential that we need to share with our African brothers and sisters, and this will be part of the LAPSSET implementation because we have a lot of resources within Africa that we need to develop to improve the lives of our people,” he added.

South Sudan has the resources but there is a need to tap into them through regional integration to make things easier for people from West Africa to East Africa, or from Southern Africa to Northern Africa to develop sectors of transport and energy, Biar said.

 “The commitment of South Sudan is to build roads and railways to connect those areas, even to West Africa in the near future.” So, it is actually a very encouraging project that was initiated by our leaders,” the minister said.

Meanwhile, Adeyinka Adeyemi, senior advisor at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s African Trade Policy Centre, said, “The most essential thing is that when you start a project, focus on it, implement it, and don’t be distracted.”

Despite its size, Adeyinka stated the LAPSSET project has been incorporated into the development plans of the three partner states, adding that “if the current growth phase continues, this entire country (South Sudan) can be transformed in another ten years.”

The LAPSSET initiative is not restricted to just three countries, according to the team leader, who is currently in South Sudan.

UNECA will connect the three countries to Central Africa and West Africa, he said. He revealed that they are in talks with the Botswana government about the Kazungula bridge, which connects four nations.